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2004 Le Grand Prix des Couleus
By:  Craig Storey   (2004/09/24)


Once again, the victory went to XC Ottawa’s Karl Saidla, winner of more mountain races than most people can remember. Since ‘mountain running’ became a recognized discipline of the running fold, no man has dominated the Eastern Canadian racing circuit the way Karl has, with multiple championships of the East’s two most prestigious races, the Grand Prix des Couleurs and the Camp Fortune Fall Rhapsody.

Karl, however, must be starting to get a tingly neck during these races, because one man continues to come closer and closer to threatening his continued dominance. Ed McCarthy, multiple runner-up of the two races and 2002 Champion of the Grand Prix des Couleurs, continues to cut the distance between himself and Karl. This year, he was a very close 25 seconds, and was, in his words, catching Karl at the finish. Karl’s not getting any younger, and Ed’s not getting any slower, so the upcoming Fall Rhapsody should be a good battle, with organizer Dave McMahon setting a grueling and creative course again this year.

Rookie mountain runner Gavin Hamilton made his debut at this year's Grand Prix des Couleurs. Gavin along with former national team skier and Olympian Chris Blanchard joined Karl and Ed in the lead pack for the first half of the race. While both faded a bit in finnishing kilometers, Gavin ended with a solid third place finish. It seems veterans Karl and Ed forgot to mention the race only got harder as it went along and coserving energy early on is a must. Lesson learned.

XC Ottawa’s Arno Turk finished a very strong 8th place, showing the rest of the field, and the rest of Eastern Canada, that XC Ottawa has a deep pool of talent. Arno put the boots to Ottawa local boys Chris Mamen and John Rennie, showing them once again that to play with the big boys, you gotta be on the same field.

Thanks again to Mont Tremblant for hosting the event, and to the weather for co-operating, as it seems to every year. The team now has its sights set on Camp Fortune, and challenges all comers. See you in October!

Results for the 2004 "Grand Prix des Couleurs"
Archive of results for the "Grand Prix des Couleurs"

Here are some pictures.

Interesting Reading. . .
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